If you lived in SoCal in the
1960's and drag raced -- you knew Jack Ewell. Among other things
he was the parts manager at Mickey Thompon's and on the original
board of directors for the UDRA. Although he would go on to field
several potent top fuel dragsters, his start came with "Chubasco".
Teaming up with Kambor and Stecker and starting in 1962 they
fielded one of the most feared cars of its era. The team was
never short of talent or parts. It was also the only car the
Ewell actually drove. To have drag racer (cars and boats) Dave
Sammons find and restore this treasure was a true gift to our
Stecker & Kambor
Bakersfield, March, 1963. The late Jack Ewell in the A/FD "Chubasco"
of Ewell, Stecker & Kambor. This is the version of the car
that Dave Sammons chose to restore.
Smokey leave at Lions
1963 Fuel & Gas Championships
Here are some shots of the car and crew for a Hot
Rod Magazine feature in 1963.
If you look at the Dave's restoration photos below you will see
how perfectly he nailed the real deal. This may also be the earliest
photos of the car as its the only one that had the Chrysler FirePower
Jack Ewell in "Chubasco"
AA/FD at Lions in 1964. The black paint job had been replaced
by this copper scheme.
"Chubasco car was Kambor,
Ewell and Stecker. Used to have lunch with Kambor everyday, he
owned the liquor store down on the corner near my shop near Studio
City. It was the last car I did there before moving up to Belmont
in '62. Bill Stecker is still active in the LA Roadster Club.
Kambor and Ewell died about 10 years ago. All good guys."
- Kent Fuller
Lions Drag Strip 1965
Jack Ewell in the staging lanes
at Riverside in 1965. Note that zoomie headers and a low profile
Hilborn injector have been added.
car made its Cacklefest debut in 2003.
In 2002 Clyde
Dedrick spotted the car in the back of Mike Leachs shop
and knew Dave Sammons was into dragsters (Dave knew Leach as
well) and told him to give him a call.
Clyde had bought
the engine out of the car a couple years before. So, Sammons
went up and looked the thing over. Leach knew the car was called
Chubasco, but not much more. Dave did the research and found
out that it was a pretty special piece, considering the Fuller
chassis, Jimmy Summers body and Tony Nancy interior (Note, Dave
was able to get 2 Tony Nancy Seahorse logos from
him and had a longtime friend). Denny Nish who worked for Nancy
in the early 60s and could possibly have sewn the seat
originally, recreate the interior. Then Sammons considered all
the people that were involved in the car back then like Carl
Olson and Jack Ewell. So, Dedrick bought the car and commissioned
Sammons, along with the help of Dick Waldrip, to restore it.
This is how she looked when Sammons
brought her home. 5-point rollcage, fire bottle mounts, hacked
up cowl and missing side panels. Previous owner Mike Leach was
going to go Nostalgia eliminator racing and thankfully never
Rear end, bell housing
and block were prefit before the chassis came apart.
Fast forward to repaired
and corrected chassis.
It was obvious that the cage
didn't match that great looking tail. This shot clearly shows
how the cowl had been altered.
The fuel tank was custom built
by Moon to match 1962 photos exactly. Ballast box hand built
A rebuilt period correct Enderle
fuel shutoff was made to match the original. Were able to determine
location by using pictures of the car from a July of 1964 Hot
Rod Magazine article.
Carl Olson, who helped Ewell
and the gang in the early days and drove for him in the late
60's, described how Jack hand machined the fuel pump drive out
of billet aluminum. Sammons built one as well, and mated it up
to the Delta front cover.
Another view, they utilized brass
fittings and copper tubing for the crossover tube. Olson remembered
polishing it between races.
Dave also used spade style hose
clamps on the low-pressure lines and swedged clamps on the high-
pressure line, just as they did in 1962. No Earls Supply fittings
on this ol' girl!
Sammons looked long and hard
trying to find the correct blower pulleys and finally found them
at the 2002 CHRR swap meet.
The idler pulley bracket is hand
made and as close a match as possible using the pictures they
They got the correct Barndoor
injector and scoop from Dennis Holding. Injector was pretty rough
and they had to build new nozzles, hard lines, butterflies and
The Blower Shop redid the GMC
6:71 unit which was then polished and painted to match the original.
A hydraulic throttle
was found on a old ski boat to match what was used originally.
Dave Sammons with his project.
Valve covers are FirePower pieces, chromed with Offy breathers.
The car sported M/T covers later the first year, but, it started
with these. Jack Ewell was the parts manager at Mickey Thompson's.
The vintage S/W gauges were treasures
from the Long Beach swap meet. Handmade, engineturned panel is
Choke cable above reared
is for fuel shut-off.
Water fills are as original,
they bleed off to the rear header pipe on each side. Moon pedals
are also correct.
Coupler out (above) and
Dave opted for Lenco parts for
the driveline to make uncoupling easy. Using the "Greek"
couple the car will be totally out of gear when doing static
fire-ups. For push starts all that has to be done is sliding
the female unit onto the male unit on the pinion shaft. This
set-up is highly recommended on all cacklecars and many believe
they should be mandatory.
Somehow, the original butterfly
wheel and brake handle stayed with the car all these years. Brake
is a push, instead of a pull. Ewell preferred it that way.
First shots of the car
with the new headers and solid black body.
Chubasco ready for its first
trip in over 30 years! It would go to Mike Leach's shop in Orange
for Weedburner headers.
made its Cacklefest debut in 2003 with Adam Sorokin in the seat.
Dave Sammons oversees
Adam Sorokin in his Ewell-Stecker-Kambor restoration.
Staged shot (literally)
by Dana Winters from 2003. Bob Muravez is in the seat. Bob has
some great memories of this car and the owners that are pretty